Facebook marketplace scams

11 Facebook Marketplace scams you should know about & how to prevent them in Canada

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PUREVPN11 Facebook Marketplace scams you should know about & how to prevent them in Canada

Each month, around one billion people use Facebook Marketplace to buy or sell items. If you’re one of them, it’s important to exercise caution because fraudsters are stealing people’s money through the platform, making it a hub for various scams. These scams may seem convincing, but they often have particular warning signs that make them easy to identify. In this article, we’ll go over the most prevalent Facebook Marketplace scams and how to prevent them, so you can keep your money safe when shopping.

Beware of these Facebook Marketplace scams

Shipping items

Buyers who purchase things through Facebook Marketplace incur the risk of not receiving the items they paid for, either due to non-delivery or receiving something other than what they pay for.

Use filters on Facebook Marketplace to restrict your search to things available for local pickup. Meeting the seller in a public, well-lit area allows you to inspect the item before paying.

If you must receive anything by mail, get a shipping tracking number and pay with a Facebook-supported payment option such as PayPal or Facebook Checkout to secure your purchase.

Communicating/paying outside Facebook

Buyers and sellers who insist on interacting or receiving money outside of Facebook’s established channels should be avoided. Scammers frequently seek to obtain your money in an irreversible fashion, such as through a Venmo payment or wire transfer.

Besides external payment methods, they may lure victims to chat or call outside of Facebook, where their communication can’t be monitored.

Facebook’s Purchase Protection rules only cover purchases made through PayPal or Facebook Checkout, so there’s no assurance you’ll receive your money back if you use another payment method.

Selling fake items

Don’t get fooled by an unbelievable deal on expensive products as Facebook Marketplace is rife with counterfeit or pirated items with suspiciously low price tags. Always remember the ancient proverb, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” If a seller asks far less than the average asking price for an item, chances are they’re up to something.

Check the seller’s profile for unfavourable reviews and steer clear of created accounts with no reviews at all. Look up the typical price of a product beforehand and request several images and possibly a video of the item.

Asking for advance payments

You should never agree to pay for something before you receive it. Fraudsters may tell you that the product is popular, due to which they need an advance payment or a deposit. It’s very likely that you won’t receive the items, and the fraudster will vanish with your money. The best option is to exchange both the item and money simultaneously.

Setting up fake accounts

Examine the seller’s profile before making a purchase on Facebook Marketplace. Some scammers create bogus Facebook profiles in order to dupe consumers into purchasing non-existent or fake products and then run away with the money. 

One of the most important things to check for is the date the Facebook account was created. Buyers should be cautious when dealing with recently created Facebook accounts.

Selling defective or broken items

Selling an item that doesn’t work is one of the most common Facebook Marketplace scams. This is especially true when acquiring laptops or other tech products. The seller knows the item is damaged, but hopes that you won’t inspect it before paying. 

When purchasing products such as electronics, turn them on and test them to ensure that they work properly before making the payment. Also, walk away from the deal if the seller or buyer pushes you to make a quick decision. If anything smells fishy, it most likely is.

Overpaying sellers

Yes, sellers can also be duped by fraudsters. Buyers commonly do that by using counterfeit money to pay the seller more than the desired amount for the item, then claim to have sent it by mistake and ask for a partial refund. 

The victim will repay the overage amount, but the initial payment never reaches the seller’s account, leaving the victim to pay the bill while the criminal keeps the money. You can avoid these Facebook Marketplace frauds by refusing overpayments and only accepting payments through Facebook-approved methods.

Listing bogus rentals

Not all the home rental and apartment listings on Facebook Marketplace are genuine. Apartment rental scams include listings with misleading or fake photos, bait-and-switch prices, and even displaying properties owned by other individuals. Do not submit an application or transfer funds until you have personally viewed the property and confirmed its availability.

Launching fake giveaways

Giveaways that appear to be too good to be true, most likely are. Bad actors share links to fake bitcoin giveaways on their accounts in the hopes that unwary users may click on them. When you click on the link, you risk installing malware on your device, allowing hackers to access important information such as email and bank account credentials. Ignore suspicious-looking links to ensure your data doesn’t slip into the wrong hands.

Demanding deposits

Cars are in high demand on Facebook Marketplace, but buyers should think twice before putting down a deposit. Scammers frequently ask buyers to transfer a small fee for holding a vehicle and then give them a fake address to meet up. 

Rather than relying on an online seller’s promises, do your homework ahead of time by visiting reputable websites like Kelly Blue Book to find out what you should be paying. Before purchasing a car, Facebook’s Help Center suggests arranging a car inspection and acquiring a vehicle history report from the Federal Trade Commission.

Requesting phone numbers

Google Voice can be beneficial, but only if you create your account yourself. Scammers can use your phone number to set up their own Voice account. You’ll receive a text message with a verification code, and if you give it to them, their account gets linked to your number.

Assume you don’t provide the verification code. You still handed over your phone number to the fraudsters, which they can use for other purposes like finding out more information about you. Long story short: you should never share your phone number with strangers.

What to do if you’ve been scammed on Facebook Marketplace

If you’ve fallen victim to a crime, you should get in touch with your local law enforcement right away.

Scammers love Facebook, whether it comes to the Marketplace or Timeline. Fortunately, Facebook is aware of the scams that plague its platform. They want to put an end to it but need your assistance.

They’ve launched Facebook Purchase Protection to help you in this regard.

Facebook Purchase Protection: What is it?

If buyers have issues with their order, Facebook Purchase Protection ensures that they are refunded. Purchase Protection covers many purchases made through Facebook Pay. It’s also free for sellers and buyers and automatically protects eligible purchases.

With Facebook Purchase Protection, you can request a refund if:

  • Your order was not delivered
  • The item was damaged or in a different state than it was advertised 
  • The seller didn’t adhere to the terms of their return policy
  • Someone made an unauthorized purchase using your Facebook account
  • The seller’s account has been deactivated on Facebook

Getting in touch with Facebook

If the seller doesn’t respond or refuses to help, you can request a refund by contacting Facebook. Individual sellers can get in touch with Facebook after 3 days. As for stores, they have to wait two days.

  1. Go to the Facebook website and select the drop down menu
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Facebook Pay
  4. Click Payment History
  5. Select the order you need help with
  6. Select the Get Help With Your Order option
  7. Fill out the form
  8. Hit the Send button
  9. When Facebook gets your request, they’ll look into the transaction as well as any messages you’ve had with the seller
  10. You’ll receive an email at the address you entered at checkout after they’ve completed your request

Reporting a scammer

It doesn’t matter if you’re a buyer or seller, you should report the fraudsters to Facebook when you realize that you’ve been scammed. Here’s how to go about it:

Reporting a buyer

  1. Go to Marketplace
  2. Select Your Account
  3. Select Your Listings
  4. Select a listing purchased by the buyer
  5. Select the message between you and the buyer
  6. If you’re unable to find the message, click the See More option
  7. Select Report Buyer and follow the on-screen instructions

Reporting a seller

  1. Go to Marketplace
  2. Select a listing from the seller whose listing you want to report
  3. Scroll down and select the seller’s name
  4. Click the Report button
  5. Select the reason you’re reporting them and continue following the on-screen instructions

6 tips to prevent Facebook Marketplace scams

Now that we’ve discussed some of the most common Facebook Marketplace scams, it’s time to learn how you can avoid becoming a victim to them.

Check out the profile and reviews

Check out a seller’s or buyer’s profile on Facebook to ensure they aren’t using a phony account. A newly created account with no or few friends and an empty bio is a red flag.

If you’ve found a seller, go through their reviews. When a seller has five or more reviews, they become public. We advise against making expensive purchases from new sellers with no visible reviews.

Use trustworthy mode of payments

Never use gift cards to pay anyone on Facebook Marketplace. If they defraud you or fail to deliver the items, it’s incredibly difficult to track them down with a gift card. It’s preferable to have proof of payment in the form of a PayPal receipt or wire transfer.

Always use Facebook Pay to pay for your purchases if it is available, particularly because some items are eligible for Purchase Protection in that way.

Don’t fall for offers that are too good to be true

If a deal on a certain luxury item appears to be too good to be true, it usually is. You may be unintentionally purchasing counterfeit products or paying a deposit for a fake posting. 

Too-good-to-be-true deals come in many different forms, but they typically involve pricey things such as jewellery and clothing from high-end labels. Selling fake luxury watches on Facebook Marketplace is quite common, too.

Avoid scanning QR codes when receiving payments

Never scan a QR code sent to you by a possible buyer under the guise that you’ll receive money in your bank account. Scanning QR codes is a method used to pay money, not to receive it.

Think twice before making a deposit

Always be sure you trust the vendor before putting a deposit on a purchase. We recommend only paying a deposit for things purchased from a reliable seller.

If someone asks you for a deposit, consider if it makes sense for that particular product in the first place and, if so, whether the amount is reasonable. Deposit scams are common with vehicles and real estate, so be extra cautious when checking these categories out

Communicate using Facebook Messenger

Always use Facebook Messenger to connect with sellers and buyers – Facebook recommends the same. In this manner, you’ll have a record of your communication in the event of a dispute

You can also communicate via email, WhatsApp, and so on. The general rule of thumb is to avoid agreeing to a bunch of details over the phone with no proof to back it up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get scammed on Facebook Marketplace?

Yes, you most certainly can. There are many different ways bad actors could scam you on Facebook Marketplace, most of which have been covered in this article.

How do I find out if a listing is trustworthy or a scam?

This is a hard one, but there are a few things to keep an eye out for: Many Facebook Marketplace scammers use fake accounts. You should be cautious if an account was just created, has few friends, or doesn’t contain a bio. Check out the seller’s reviews as well.
In general, we recommend that you stick to sellers who have visible reviews. Also, avoid listings that appear to be too good to be true.

What is the safest payment method on Facebook Marketplace?

Payment methods that keep a record of payments made, such as credit card, PayPal, and Facebook Pay.
Facebook Pay is a fantastic payment option that we recommend using whenever feasible because it provides purchase protection on a wide range of products. Methods of payment to avoid include gift cards and cash payments, which cannot be traced and provide no proof of payment.

Is Facebook Marketplace safe to use?

While there are risks associated with using Facebook Marketplace, it can be safe to use if you take the proper precautions and use good judgment. Always be cautious and skeptical of listings that seem suspicious, and use Facebook’s built-in features to protect yourself whenever possible.

Got any questions? Feel free to use the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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